A gradual but inevitable descent into cricket-based loathing and bile.

If You’re Going To Edgbaston, Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair

Posted on April 9, 2013 by in First Class, Opinion


One of the many reasons that 51allout is masssively unsuccessful (2011 revenue: none; 2012 revenue: none; 2013 revenue to date: none) is that the United States government deliberately suppresses anything good we do, keeping it from hitting the mainstream media. Like that time we predicted that MS Dhoni would run himself out on 99, or our impassioned defence against Craig Kieswetter’s apparent crapness.

And the reason for this heavy-handed treatment? The Patriot Act or, more specifically, our complete disdain for the Patriot Act. Barely a week or so ago we received an email containing in-depth(ish) discussion of the performances of various New Zealand players in their most recent Test series. Of course this red-hot information was immediately of interest to the FBI. But did we reveal who had written this hard-hitting expose? No, we let him (or her, but almost certainly him) hide behind the name of drink-driving footballing non-legend Nicklas Bendtner. Unsurprisingly the feds came down hard on our maverick approach to personal identities and the article conspicuously failed to go viral, not featuring on a single one of the many news programmes that we watched that day, i.e. John Craven’s Newsround and the Natalie Sawyer bits on Sky Sports News.

We'd enjoy the match even more if someone could get that pig off the left hand side of the screen.

We’d enjoy the match even more if someone could get that pig off the left hand side of the screen.

Despite that clear, cynical manipulation of the press – something intrinsically associated with every dictatorship – we will not be cowed. Hence this week, when we received a long (and very poorly formatted) piece about Warwickshire’s hopes for the upcoming county season, the message was clear: we will not be intimated into giving away people’s personal details. Hence all the thoughts below are those of someone we’ll mysteriously call ‘Scott McKenzie’. Here’s what ‘Scott’ had to say about Warwickshire’s hopes for the new season:

“Having won the County Championship they narrowly missed out on in 2011, Warwickshire and their new coach, Dougie Brown, will be hoping they don’t ‘do a Lancashire’ and get themselves relegated in 2013. Despite finishing second in 2011, Warwickshire were still unfancied by many the following year. It was testament to the coach, Ashley Giles, and a settled squad that they comfortably won the Championship and reached the final of the CB40, only losing to Hampshire in a last-ball nailbiter. However, the King of Spain has moved onwards and upwards to England duty, looking after the ODI and T20 sides because Andy Flower can’t be arsed, with former Bears all-rounder Dougie Brown landing his coveted role. Having spent his entire playing career at Edgbaston, nearly all of it alongside Giles, Brown has a keen sense of what it means to be a Warwickshire player. Both played under some excellent first XI coaches, such as Bob Woolmer, Phil Neale and John Inverarity, and, as with many players of their generation, they were both well-schooled by the late Neal Abberley.

Neil and his coaching staff pose for their traditional preseason picture.

Neal and his coaching staff pose for their traditional preseason picture.

So, what of Warwickshire’s prospects in 2013? It’s largely the same squad bar the retirement of Neil Carter and the shipping out of reserve ‘keeper Richard Johnson to Derbyshire – a good move for both parties. A fine gloveman and more than useful bat, given a run in the side he’ll do very well for them. He briefly looked to have usurped Tim Ambrose at Warwickshire but a return to health and form has seen the latter regain his place and earn an extended contract.

For 2013, Warwickshire have brought in 6’8″ pace bowler Oliver Hannon-Dalby from Yorkshire. A bowler without a tremendous amount of first team experience at Headingley, his signing seems to echo that of Chris Wright’s from Essex. In signing Dalby it’s clear that the Bears are aiming to have the tallest fast-bowling unit in the world. For 2014, expect the overseas signing to be Pakistan’s 7’1″ pace bowling giant, Mohammad Irfan.

Irfan and his teammates pose for their traditional preseason picture.

Irfan and his teammates pose for their traditional preseason picture.

In the meantime, New Zealand spin bowler Jeetan Patel will return for a third season at Edgbaston and will be available for the entire summer, a move which has paid dividends over the past two years. With New Zealand touring England in the early part of the summer and Daniel Vettori recuperating from an Achilles injury there was a danger that Patel may miss some Championship cricket. But, being a good Bears man, Jeetan served up more than his fair share of dross when called up to his national side, thus ensuring his non-selection and full availability for the Birmingham-based side instead.

With few movements either in or out of Edgbaston over the winter, Dougie Brown will have the lion’s share of the championship winning squad at his disposal. Even without England stars Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott to call on for large parts of the summer, the likes of Ian Westwood, William Porterfield and resurgent skipper Jim Troughton look steady in the middle order. Opener Varun Chopra’s excellent county form saw him earn a spot on the Lions tour of Australia where he performed admirably despite the team getting gubbed every single game. Talented batsman Laurie Evans also looks ready to step up and fill the aging shoes of Darren Maddy and with Tim Ambrose, Chris Woakes and Rikki Clarke in the lower batting spots, Warwickshire bat deep. The bowling unit of Keith Barker, Chris Wright, Patel, Woakes and Clarke looks as solid as any and only Surrey can boast a pace attack to rival the Bears’.

The Warwickshire first team pose for their traditional preseason photo.

The Warwickshire first team pose for their traditional preseason picture.

With a settled side that rotates minimally for the Pro40 and T20 competitions, Warwickshire are a fair bet to retain their title with an outside shot at another Lord’s final. Whether or not they make Finals Day in the T20 is another matter as they refuse to throw money at hired hands for that particular competition, unlike many other counties. Warwickshire look to have found the right formula for success and I predict more silverware in 2013 for the Bears’ trophy cabinet.”

So there you have it. Many thanks to ‘Scott McKenzie’ for saving us the effort of writing this article. If you’d like to discuss ‘Scott’s’ thoughts you can do so in our comments section below, or via his email at [SUPPRESSED]

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